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Current Issues and Traditions Among the World’s Major Religions Essay

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are three of the leading religions in the world today. As of 2007, it was found that 13.2 million of the total world population believe in Judaism (Jewish People Policy Planning Institute). Islam is said to be the second largest religion right after Christianity, with about one to 1.8 billion population (Number of Adherents). Meanwhile, the Christian population continuously occupies one- third of the total world population with over two billion believers  (Hinnels, p.441). Aside from being major world religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all Abrahamic or monotheist religion.Being with the largest population, Christianity is often subjected to controversies. Nowadays, two of the greatest issues it faces are the topics on the failure of the Christian priests and the question on the involvement of Christian religion in the affairs of the State. The first issue can be illustrated through the various reports on incidences of priest malpractices and abuse. The most recent one was the claim of a 24-year old man being sexually abused by a priest in Boston. There also have been reports of rape among children against three priests in Hong Kong. Aside from this, reports of priests getting married are putting the credibility of the Christian priests in question. In addition, the issue regarding the Christian Church meddling with the affairs of the government is still a hot issue today. In most Catholic countries, the role of the Church is often being questions as impeding the affairs of the government. In the Philippines, for example, a bill on divorce is being impeded by the Church’s strong opposition against it. The Philippine Catholic Church, on the other hand, refuses that it controls any affairs of the government, but simply states its stand regarding divorce.Islam, on the other hand, also faces current issues regarding the perception of its members and its being associated to terrorism. Muslims are sometimes discriminated because of their look and the way they dress, beliefs and practices, and most of the time, stereotypes. Many people contest their way and logic of marriage, where a man can have as many wife and children as he can as long as he is capable of providing them a good life. For example, in France, the government has imposed a ban that legally prohibits the use of noticeable religious symbols in public schools, including the hijab or the Muslims headscarvers worn by women. This discrimination goes even further when some Muslim begins being associated with terrorism. Osama bin- Laden and Saddam Hussein are two of the men who said to be involved in terrorism attacks and political killings. This made the image of the Muslims appears dirty in the perceptions of the people all throughout the world.  Right now, the most wanted terrorist groups are Islamic-based such as Al Qaeda, Abu Sayyaf, Jimaah Islamiyah, and Harakat ul-Mujahidin. The terrorist activities of the said groups and alike are contributing to the big challenge the Muslim community faces regarding their identity and religion.Judaism, perhaps, holds the greatest challenges when it comes to discrimination. Even before the years in the past, Judaism was criticized for its beliefs and practices that led to some of the most horrible and fearful mass killings in the history. Right now, discrimination among Jews is still rampant. Although killings of Jews are no overt as compared to the past years, discrimination is still considered as one of the things Judaism wanted to eradicate for its members. The religion is continuously struggling because of the issue on anti-Semitism where Jews are perceived differently due to their beliefs, mythology, folklore, culture, etc. that cause incidences of death. In addition, the Jews also face the challenge of terrorism as some of the religion’s members are associated to several terrorist groups, just like the Muslims. Because of this, the threat in the life and security of the Jews increases. Just this year, there have been four reported incidences of terrorist attacks in Israel. Most of these incidences are not only bounded by political reasons but religion-based as well. An example of a political-driven party is Kach and Kahane Chan that is now being considered a terrorist group.TraditionsEaster Sunday and the Vatican City are two entities relevant in the Christian tradition. Regarded as the most important day of the church year, Easter Sunday is a spring festival that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter determines the all the Christian feasts and liturgical year of worship. It is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day repentance and fasting stretching up to Holy Week. The Vatican City, on the other hand, suggests a powerful place for the Christians. Officially the State of the Vatican City, it is the world’s smallest state that is being ruled by the Pope—the Bishop of Rome. The Pope is regarded as the most powerful figure in the Roman Catholic Church. Islam is known for its Ramadan and hijab. The former is a yearly traditional practice of the Muslims which involves fasting, praying of the Qu’ran, charity, and self- accountability every ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which is also called Ramadan. This religious observation is considered as the most blessed month of the year. Hijab, on the other hand, plays an important role in the Islam tradition as it serves as a religious dress for Muslims. Hijab is referred in Qu’ran not as a mere clothing article but a spatial curtain aiming to provide or divide privacy. Finally, Shabbat and the Star of David are considered sacred in the Judaism tradition. Shabbat is the seventh day of the week and considered by Jews as a commemoration of God’s creation of the earth. It was regarded as the most important holy day in the Jewish calendar. Meanwhile, the Star of David symbolizes Judaism in general. This hexagram star was named after King David of Israel. Then in 1984, the symbol was used for the flag of Israel after it was officially proclaimed as a country.ReferencesHuda.  Jihab in French Schools.  Retrieved 4 June 2008.http://islam.about.com/cs/currentevents/i/france_hijab.htmHinnells, John R. The  Routledge Companion to the Study of Religion. 2005, page 441.Major Religions of the World—Ranked by Number of Adherents. January 2007. 5 June 2008.http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html#Islam

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